Friday, September 16, 2011
Jessica Eye Interview
Jessica Eye is coming off her first loss, to Aisling Daly. While her first loss was not something she wanted, she learned from it, and it may prove to have almost been a good thing. Because learning will help her in the next step in her career, which begins with her Bellator debut one week away. Jessica is not only a talented fighter, but as I know from experience, she is just an amazing person, always quick to do whatever she can to help others. Jessica has had that "prospect" label attached to her for awhile, now she moves towards the "star" label.
Q: First, for those not familiar, how did you get started in the sport?
A: Basically I fell into MMA, it didn't happen because I decided I wanted to go to a gym. I just so happened to meet Marcus (Marinelli) and the guys training at the gym, not fighters, just guys training there. They invited me to take a couple classes and it just fell into place. I was doing the kettle bell classes, the flex band classes, and next thing you know, I was boxing and grappling, it just happened without being forced.
Q: Your last fight was with Aisling Daly. It was a fight you pretty much controlled. Did you just get caught or something else?
A: I think it was a mixture of a lot of things going on in that fight. I had some personal issues, a lot going on, a lot of people don't know I suffered a major major concussion, and we should have pulled out of the fight and we didn't. I was suffering from head aches and a lot of issues before that. But I wanted that fight for myself, to show I could push through it. I am not making excuses but I feel I was winning that fight and made mistakes because my focus wasn't where it should have been, and Aisling capitalized on that. There were other things, I was having a wardrobe malfunction before the fight, my sports bra kept coming up, I thought I was gonna flash the crowd. I think there were a lot of key things that weren't right that added up and Aisling did a great job of capitalizing on it.
Q: Would you like to fight her again?
A: Most certainly. People ask me if I want a rematch, you gotta wait, you don't get a rematch the very next fight, and to be honest I don't want that. I hope that me and her can help women's MMA by causing a bigger draw and put it back on the NAAFS stage or even the Bellator stage.
Q: Was it hard to put this fight behind you and focus on this next one?
A: I wanna say no it wasn't hard, but it was. I kind of dealt with some personality issues with myself and battled confidence issues cause I never lost before. I didn't show that to anybody. No one would have knows cause I was in the gym the next day, and I stayed on it and this whole summer has been huge for me. I used it as motivation, because if I am gonna lose, I am glad I lost that way. I didn't lose by getting my ass kicked, I lost because I made a mistake and someone capitalized on it. It turned my outlook on MMA and fighting to a different view, I am not a walking time bomb anymore. I can go out and just fight and be a better fighter because of it. I put it behind me, at first it was hard, but now I have gotten to cross train with some amazing females, it instilled that confidence back in me and my team, seeing how wonderful my team has been. Your only as good as your last victory and how you handle it, and your last loss, so if I took a month off I wouldn't have learned from it.
Q: Locally, you are one of the most popular fighters. Is there one specific reason why you think that is?
A: That would be a better question to ask my fans. My fans know that I love them. They are the greatest people, and if I could, I would give them each a day to spend with them and talk and learn about them and see who they are, so they can see who they are supporting. It melts my heart because they are such a motivation for me. They felt my last loss as much as I did, and I know that. I am glad they are here for me and I am here for them as much as possible. I will constantly fight for myself, but I will also fight for the Cleveland fans. As long as they support me, I will represent them in a positive manner. Cleveland had their King of the Court with LeBron, now they need their Queen of the Cage.
Q: You are fighting Casey Noland for Bellator next week, what do you know about her?
A: Other than her being Chuck Liddell's baby's momma, I really don't much about here haha. I know she is from a tough camp, obviously The Pit is a striking camp, they are known for that, they are known for that, they are known to be brawlers and tough people. I have talked to mutual friends and they say she is super tough and I respect her. But the one thing I did miss out on the Aisling fight is I waited for her to make mistakes, and if anyone saw my Marissa Caldwell fight, I didn't wait, I took the fight to her and was the meaner fighter, this time I didn't wand waited to see what she would do. I am going into this fight fighting my fight and people are going to see the Evil that people saw when I walked into the cage for the first time. Whatever her game plan is, good for her, but my game plan is my game plan and she is gonna fall victim to it cause I am not gonna fall into hers.
Q: The fight is close to home, and with you and John Hawk both fighting, you can expect huge crowd support, does that help or affect you?
A: I would have said yes if I hadn't fought in Atlantic City. I love the crowd, but if they aren't there I'd feel their energy from a million miles away. The crowd can be there and I can feel them, and they can not be there and I can be booed. I am excited to one day be booed, because I will use energy in anyway I can, good, bad, happy, evil, whatever it is I will use it. It makes you feel good when you got people screaming your name and roaring. I heard in an interview Bjorn (Rebney) referred to me as Bono, so that was awesome. And I love that, but it's give and take, I will take it for what its worth. If they are there to support me and scream I will feel it, and if they aren't there I will feel it from a distance.
Q: When I interviewed John Hawk, he said when the crowd is behind him, he hears it but doesn't here it, meaning he knows they are there but when he is fighting he doesn't notice it. Is that how you are?
A: Yeah, its like Charlie Brown, you hear it and hear a wah wah wah. You hear voices you key in on like your coaches. I only hear their voices and the crowd again goes to the Charlie Brown voice.
Q: Is this your chance to show you belong with the top fighters in your class?
A: Yeah absolutely. I think even more than with Aisling. I think Aisling helped me realize a lot about me and my career. This is my chance, last time wasn't my chance and I thought it was. This is a bigger chance to show the world class fighter that I am. I am very young in this sport, younger than a lot of the world class fighters right now and that works to my advantage in a lot of ways.
Q: Is their one thing from the Daly fight that you can use to help you in this fight?
A: Don't wear a sports bra anymore haha. That's one of them, but the other is my focus, don't let anything take my focus away. Eye on the prize completely.
Q: Do you have a prediction how this ends?
A: I want a knock out bad, but I will take a victory however it comes cause I victory is a victory.
Q: You have been working this week with Sara McMann who like you is an up and coming fighter. How has that experience been?
A: Oh my gosh its been awesome. Sara is the most remarkable female I ever met. She is flying so under the radar that it upsets me. That girl deserves to be at the top level, on Bellator or Strikeforce. She is a world class woman and it has been a pleasure to have her here. She has helped me with my confidence and just talked to me as a woman. I spend so much time with these guys, and it's so different to have a female here, just her demeanor is empowering and I feed off it. To have her coach me on my ground, I heard her, I heard her voice. Some people I ignore them, but I hear her and heard what she told me to do. I can't wait for her to come back and to help her with anything. She has a phenomenal physique to her, she looks amazing, is amazing, and I think the world of her.
Q: Any idea what you want next, or just focused on this?
A: You know what, I think with the Aisling fight, I was looking past it, so I am not looking at anything but next Saturday. Not even worried about bills to pay, waking up next Monday, just Saturday and being ready and winning this fight.
Q: With you, John Hawk, Chris Lozano and Brian Rogers with Bellator, and Stipe Miocic with the UFC, what does that say about Strong Style?
A: Strong Style has been working their butt off and all the fighters in Strong Style. I have been their 5 or 6 years now and I have watched these guys walk in and do everything possible. It is like college, we have been going to Strong Style college for the past 4 or 5 years, working our tales off and now its our turn to graduate to the bigger level. It was good to fly under the radar cause now we are coming out with a bang. We are up there with Jackson's and Team Quest and American Top Team. We may not have been in people's eyes for the last 25 years or 10 years, but we will be here for the next 10 and 20 years. We are building a new breed in the sport, people will remember Strong Style.
Q: Is this a chance to not only show how good the fighters there are but also the coaches and how good they are?
A: I don't think people realize the amount of talent our coaches have in that gym. We got probably 20 coaches and each has their own style. Every fighter is different, what one coach does for one fighter may not work for another fighter, but we got a coach who will work for that person. They will expand and grow your skill. Marcus is a remarkable man. He is a coach that connects with his fighters. You can't replace him, same with Pablo Castro and Joe Delguyd. They help us when we are confused, and I don't know if other gyms have that or not, but I am not concerned with them, but I will tell you what, my coaches do. They know how to control me and other fighters. If you saw the corner of Chris Lozano, it wasn't "do this do that". It was "let's go, focus", it helped Chris stay connected with himself.
Q: I know from my experience, it's important for you to help people. Is that accurate?
A: Jason, my EYEBelieve came from just wanting to show people they can believe in themselves and be whatever they want. If you have a passion for something and I can help, I will. Fighting has made me more open and see they good and unfortunate bad in people. I love to help people find their confidence. They world can beat down confidence and it's not easy to keep it, and I love helping people with that, with finding their smile, helping them feel good. Someone did that to me, it was Marcus, he helped me and so did my father. if they can do it, I can help others to. It's self rewarding.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: My teammates, my sponsors, B3 Fighter Management Company for taking me under their wing, Greg Bell has done a great job promoting me. intimidation clothing for always hooking me up, Luke (Jernigan) is an amazing man. My newest clothing sponsor BeachOaz, they are new to me but I am excited to work with them. The owner Chris started it from believing in himself and others. Haasz Auto Mall for letting me have a car for a month while Sara is here so we don't have to rent her one. Barley House for putting on me and Johns part, John Lennon for being who he is. He is a remarkable man who helps people get in a better spot in life. My long time sponsor who I will always be a part of Atkinson Candy Company. They were there from the beginning. They are delicious.